MELBOURNE • World No. 1 Novak Djokovic hammered a misfiring Andy Murray in straight sets to win a record-equalling sixth Australian Open title and strengthen his grip on men's tennis yesterday.
The Serb swept to a 6-1, 7-5, 7-6 (7-3) victory to equal the tally of Australia's Roy Emerson, who won the tournament six times between 1961 and 1967.
It was also Djokovic's 11th Grand Slam title, putting him in equal fifth place on the all-time list alongside Rod Laver and Bjorn Borg, behind leader Roger Federer's 17.
"This trophy is even more unique for me tonight and when you have an opportunity to make history, it adds to the motivation and incentive before you come out on the court," Djokovic said after the 2hr 53min contest.
He also extended his Grand Slam winning streak to 21 matches.
While Djokovic was further enhancing his reputation, Murray has the unwanted statistic of becoming only the second man in the Open era to lose five Grand Slam finals at any one Major.
Ivan Lendl, his former coach, lost five finals at the US Open before winning at Flushing Meadows from 1985-1987.
"I feel like I have been here before," Murray, second-best for the fifth time in the last seven years, said at the trophy presentation ceremony. He then held back tears when he thanked his wife Kim Sears, who is due to give birth to their first child soon.
"Thank you so much for all of your support and I'll be on the next plane home," said the London-based Scot before rushing to the airport to catch a 1am flight.
Djokovic won 24 more points than Murray, 123-99, in the final, while Murray made a total of 65 unforced errors.
The Serb faced a break point in his opening service game but then went on a blazing run to claim the opening set.
He gained another psychological breakthrough with a service break in the seventh game of the second set after Murray overhit a forehand.
The world No. 2 broke back in the following game with his backhand clipping the baseline. But Djokovic broke Murray's serve for a fourth time to lead 6-5 and serve for the second set.
The Serb then sealed the title in style, with an ace.
"I believe that I can win every match I play," said Djokovic, who kissed the Rod Laver Arena court during his celebration because he has a "love affair" with it.
"I don't want to think how far my boundaries are," he said.